Hello Healthy Counties!
My name is Kenneth Wilson, and I am the County Administrator of Franklin County, Ohio. I began working with Franklin County in 2005 when I was hired as the director of the county’s Office of Management and Budget. In 2010, I was promoted to the role of deputy county administrator for resource management, overseeing several agencies including job and family services.
Franklin County is thriving and is the only large county in our region that is growing. We are home to 13 colleges and universities, including one of the largest in the country, so we have one of the youngest and most highly educated populations in the nation. We’re also consistently listed as one of the best large cities to live in because of our beautiful, diverse neighborhoods and world-class amenities with a lower-than-average cost of living. But like any large community, we have our share of challenges. Today I would like to highlight some of the incredible work we have done in Franklin County to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and address crucial behavioral health issues.
We have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than most localities, and our Board of Commissioners is continuing to use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to speed the recovery. These past two years have taken their toll on all of us and while the economy is recovering, many of our 1.3 million residents continue to struggle in other ways, including with mental and behavioral health.
In August, our county commissioners were excited to announce a new evidence-based online tool in partnership with our Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board (ADAMH) to help increase access to mental health services and decrease the stigma that can come with seeking mental health care. The website, FranklinCountyOhio.CredibleMind.com, is available to all Franklin County residents and allows them to access information on more than 200 mental health topics and find mental health providers here in Central Ohio.
Studies show that as many as 75 percent of people feel more comfortable taking a self-paced approach to addressing mental health concerns, and Credible Minds allows us to meet our residents where they are in this process.
The number of people reporting anxiety, depression and increased substance use has risen quickly during the pandemic and there has been an increase in the number of people considering suicide during 2020 than in years past. Just as we work to ensure our residents’ physical safety and health, it is vitally important that we also help them address the mental and behavioral challenges they may be facing.
The site provides more than a dozen self-assessments to help visitors explore their mental health profile and then offers a variety of resources tailored to each user. All the resources are vetted by experts and the assessment tools are completely confidential. Resources include articles, videos, podcasts and more.
FranklinCountyOhio.CredibleMind.com also connects users directly to ADAMH’s network of mental health and behavioral health providers, and users can learn more about how Medicaid can help cover the costs of treatment for mental health and substance use disorder. The site is also an excellent platform for us to connect users with other services that are available through our Office on Aging, Job and Family Services Department, Justice Policy and Programs and more. All user information is confidential, but anonymized data from the site can be used to track trends and identify needs within the community.
For more information about Credible Mind and all of the exciting things we have going on in Franklin County Ohio, visit Commissioners.FranklinCountyOhio.gov.
Kenneth N. Wilson, MPA, CTA
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Franklin County, Ohio